Wayfinding along a precarious path requires planning, knowledge, and skill. A couple of other attributes also play large roles in successful navigation—patience and positivity.

2019 is a few days away and a new year begins. It’s time to celebrate the past year’s achievements, learn from nonsuccesses, and plan for the months ahead. New Year’s Day is one of many markers along the trail—a moment to contemplate possibilities. It’s a time to decide to keep traveling the present course, veer left, right, or maybe explore alternate routes. Many worldwide environmental challenges lie ahead with seemingly insurmountable obstacles along the way. Threats include declining water quality, proliferation of microplastics, deforestation, global pollution, and of course the big one—global warming and climate change. 

Our country’s present administration continues to deny accepted scientific consensus on climate change and praises “clean beautiful coal.” The president has directed his Environmental Protection Agency to reverse major strides undertaken by the previous administration to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants. In addition to undermining the fight against climate change, this present direction supports the most harmful of all fuels, threatening both the environment and public health. Apparently, our greatest educational challenge needs to focus toward the very government responsible for representing and protecting its people.

This is a good time to step back and analyze what’s being done to counter threats to our environment. Skillful and fundamental shifts in thinking and strategy are critical, and new efforts are already beginning to take place by several entities. On its website, NASA provides a voluminous amount of data relating to climate change in order to inform and prepare communities, businesses, and citizens. The Department of Defense has identified and acknowledged climate change as a major potential threat to national security and is developing preparedness measures. Late this year, Exxon Mobil Corporation sent a letter to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in support of methane gas emission rules put in place under the previous Obama administration. These are all of course very initial steps, but nonetheless, science, military, and business entities—in contrast to the existing administration—understand the seriousness of the situation.

Many of my nonfiction writings are set in Alaska’s arctic region or in Nevada’s high mountain desert. Climate change will greatly affect these two areas in coming years, and I’ll work as diligently as possible to understand and interpret these changes. Frustration and anger only inhibit these efforts. Conversely, planning, knowledge, and patience when navigating a precarious path seems to be the wisest course of action.

Have a happy new year and remain strong, vigilant, and positive.  

For more about my writing, please visit BruceRettig.com.

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